left Xtraordinary Living At Its Best: How are you measuring success?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

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How are you measuring success?

As I was cleaning up the clutter on my desktop, I came across the following article on Success. I can't remember where I saw it nor who wrote it. So my apologies to the author. If you read this and you wrote it - or know the person who wrote it - please let me know so that I can correctly attribute it. However, I do think that the piece contains some great thoughts and I wanted to share them with my readers. Please let me know your thoughts on success.

I’ve known men and women who measure success by their ability to attract the opposite sex. You’ve met these people, too, haven’t you?

Some people measure success by their ability to inflict pain in the lives of others. Bullies, vandals, website hackers, internet virus creators and bad policemen are tragic examples. The fact that they momentarily control our time, emotions and energy gives them a perverted sense of power. I know of no cure for this sickness.

And then there are the many who measure success by the acquisition of things that cost money. I think this definition covers most of us.

John Steinbeck gave us a way to identify the scoreboard we’re using to measure our success. All one needs to do is ask oneself, “What are my plans for the future?”

“A rich life is rich in plans. If they don't come off, they are still a little bit realized. If they do, they may be disappointing. That's why a trip described becomes better the greater the time between the trip and the telling. I believe too that if you can know a man's plans, you know more about him than you can in any other way."
– John Steinbeck, Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters

Today I submit these additional measurements of success for your consideration:

1. Am I sufficiently curious?
“Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.”
– Albert Einstein

2. How little do I need to be happy?
“It is not the man who has little, but he who desires more, that is poor.”
- Seneca the younger, (3BC-65AD)

3. Have I proven that I care?
"That's the thing with handmade items. They still have the person's mark on them, and when you hold them, you feel less alone. This is why everyone who eats a Whopper leaves a little more depressed than they were when they came in. Nobody cooked that burger."
– Aimee Bender, from her short story, Tiger Mending

4. How many lives have I made better today?
“In a completely rational society, teachers would be at the tip of the pyramid, not near the bottom. In that society, the best of us would aspire to be teachers, and the rest of us would have to settle for something less. The job of passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor anyone could have.”
– Lee Iacocca, Where Have All the Leaders Gone? p. 217

Are you satisfied with the scoreboard you’ve been using to measure success? Remember, you alone get to choose. To measure success according to a scoreboard thrust upon you by another is tantamount to psychic slavery.

Don’t be anyone’s slave. Measure success by your own scoreboard. The point of today’s memo is to encourage you to choose your scoreboard consciously rather than unconsciously.